I am trying to find out about spelt flour. I understand it is a much healthier flour than even whole wheat? What is it exactly? How does one bake with it? Any sites to recommend?
Spelt is a subspecies of wheat; I haven’t been able to find any comparative nutritional breakdowns, but I suspect it will be higher in protein and fibre than wheat (compensating by being lower in carbohydrates) - please note that this is a speculation (I’ll come back later if I can find some facts).
If the above is correct, then as long as it is ground finely ans the bran sifted out, then it ought to be good for making bread and pasta, where a higher protein content is desirable in terms of the consistency of the finished product.
Hi Badbug. Spelt flour is often used as a substitute for wheat for wheat-sensitive individuals. There are so many sites that talk about spelt origins, spelt in baking, etc, that you would be better off just to search the net and pick and choose what interests you. I haven’t baked with it yet, but I try to eat it because wheat doesn’t agree with me (we argue constantly). In the health-food stores you can find spelt bagels, bread (even spelt sourdough bread and spelt white bread), and rolls. Also spelt pasta.
In my experience, spelt products are much more dense and heavy, but certain types (depending on the company, I suppose) are “lighter” than others. I do like the taste, though.
I recently bought a box of Arrowhead Mills spelt bread mix, which gives instructions for using a bread machine or conventional baking. It comes with yeast and the spelt flour and you add oil, honey and water.
Sorry I can’t recommend a site for you. There are just soooooo many.
Sorry I don’t have a web cite, but I recall reading that spelt was used in Europe proior ot the use of wheat, and that wheat was nutritionally superior because of its much higher protein content.
Because of the much reduced gluten content it is much harder to get bread to rise cite.
I have not been able to find any reliable nutrition information on it, but I'm not sure if it is really that much healthier-unless of course you have wheat allergies
Ah. Looks like my WAG turned out to be completely wrong then. Ho hum.
Your wild-ass guess was on the money. Spelt is just wheat.
Wheat Varieties and Their Uses
The wheat plant is an annual, probably derived from a perennial; the ancestry of and precise distinctions between species are no longer always clear. For its early growth wheat thrives best in cool weather. Among the more ancient, and now less frequently cultivated, species are einkorn (T. monococcum), emmer (T. dicoccum), and spelt (T. spelta).
Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.
If Spelt and Regular Wheat get married, they can have fertile children.
While it is true that spelt is wheat, there is a difference in baking characteristics between different varieties of wheat. For instance, flour from hard wheat makes good bread. If you used the same flour to bake a cake it wouldn’t rise as well-you need soft wheat to make cake flour. The difference between the two flours is in the gluten content. They are both wheat, but with very different baking characteristics.
It seems to me that saying that “spelt is just wheat” is like saying that Juicy Fruit is just gum. Okay, not exactly, but hear me out: While that statement is true, there is also bubble gum, sugarless gum, Nicorette, etc, which are also just gum. Wide variety there.
Seconding (?) what Lostboy said, there is a difference in baking characteristics between wheat products. You can tell by reading the spelt/whole wheat bread recipes ingredients/substitutions.
Spelt may not be “healthier” than whole wheat bread for everyone (which I think was the your question, Badbug), but from what I have read, it is better for many with a wheat sensitivity, if not only for the digestive ease.
Here are just a couple of sites to look at. But as I said in an earlier post, there are soooooooo many in terms of what spelt is, how to bake with it and/or substitute, etc.